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NLS approves maximum levy, social media policy

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board approved certification Monday of the maximum levy.

The preliminary levy will be finalized in December and certifying the maximum instead of a specific number allows the district flexibility, Superintendent Paul Carlson told the board during the levy discussion policy at the regular meeting Monday.

Board members reviewed the possible 2010 levy, payable in 2011, amounts. The likely levy could be $3,670,573.79 for the district's general, community service, debt service and other post-employment benefits funds. The total is $193,005.08 less, a 5 percent decrease, from the 2009 levy, payable in 2010, of $3,863,578.87.

The general fund levy could be $1,816,508.54, the community service levy $150,961.75, the debt service levy $1,672,038.58 and the other post-employment benefits levy $224,070.

Also Monday, the board unanimously approved the district's new social media policy, which addresses how district employees may use the wide array of social media options available. Carlson noted that the policy had been reviewed by the district principals, attorney and technology coordinator.

Carlson explained that the policy discussion began when a teacher asked about using Facebook to communicate with parents. The district modified an existing policy from the Minnetonka district to create its policy, he said, noting that Minnetonka was the only district he knew of that had a policy in place.

The policy prohibits using personal social media on district time, advises district employees on how they should conduct themselves while using social media and outlines that employees who do not comply with the rules may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

The board also discussed, but took no action, on how the district could use an estimated $264,109 -- its portion of federal funding to retain education jobs. The $181 per student can be spent in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, according to board chair Robert Moller, who stressed that the state's budget deficit is growing and schools should expect no funding increases.

"These are dollars we need to spend wisely," Moller said. "We need to get the best bang for our buck."

Carlson recommended the board spend some of the funding this year. Likely areas where the funds will go include paying $50,521 for another kindergarten teacher.

The board decided in August to add another section of kindergarten in order to alleviate a high student-teacher ratio brought on by a larger-than-ex-pected kindergarten class.

Other likely areas where the federal funding could be spent include curriculum development stipends of $10,000 for teachers who spend extra time researching curriculum; $17,143 for the district's school success programs, which helps at-risk students; $16,630 for reading and math intervention programs; $5,000 for data assessment; $1,766 for after-school enrichment; $4,299 for additional secretarial time spent on student activities funds; and ELL/reading assistance via Title I at a cost of $9,689.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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